Four consultant obstetricians at St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny, among them an anti-abortion campaigner, have written to GPs in the region to advise that termination services are not available in the hospital.
The doctors have also informed the CEO of the Ireland East Hospital Group, Mary Day.
The letter, signed by Ray O’Sullivan, Raouf Salam, Yuddandi Nagaveni, and Trevor Hayes, said that, following discussions between the four, it was “decided unanimously that the hospital is not an appropriate location for medical or surgical terminations”.
The letter also says it was “also adjudged that, in the event of professional and values training of staff willing to participate in such procedures, the hospital remains an unsuitable location for these services”.
The medics said that, while hospital staff were committed to the safe delivery of care for women, “the provision of a termination service is not possible for a multitude of very challenging reasons”.
Mr Hayes was a prominent anti-abortion campaigner during the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment in May 2018.
In a letter to GPs, Mr Hayes said: “Obviously, if a patient is moribund or with haemorrhage or sepsis, she will be dealt with in an appropriate manner.”
Mr Hayes said the hospital did not have a referral pathway and he had written to Holles St, in the same hospital group, about this.
“My understanding is that Wexford is also not providing the service,” he said.
Mike Thompson, a GP and spokesman for Start, a group of doctors supportive of reproductive rights, expressed worry that their attitude would “embolden other hospitals” to issue similar diktats.
Dr Thompson said it was “effectively institutional obstruction”, and that while they were trying to “conflate it with resources”, St Luke’s was no less resourced than any other hospital.